Author Topic: Consolidated-Vultee 'Sea Dogs'  (Read 551 times)

Offline apophenia

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Consolidated-Vultee 'Sea Dogs'
« on: October 27, 2020, 09:09:31 AM »
And yet another spin-off from a sporting25 concept...

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The Consolidated-Vultee 'Sea Dogs' - From Unwanted to Utile

The Consolidated-Vultee TBY Sea Wolf [1] failed to live up to expectations and was overshadowed by the larger but more successful Grumman Avenger. The Japanese kamikaze attacks almost changed the fate of the Sea Wolf. As US forces approached the Japanese Home Islands, the need for early warning radar picket came to the fore. Modifications were begun on some 45 redundant TBY-2 airframes on the Vultee production line. The resulting TBY-4W was to be fitted with an AN/APS-3A radar [2] housed in an enormous belly radome.

A single TBY-2 airframe was converted to XTBY-4W standard. The bulbous belly fairing was installed but it is not clear whether the prototype ever actually carried the complete radar set. The AN/APS-3A installation had been trialled from an R2D-1 transport but its performance was disappointing. As a result, the TBY-4W program was cancelled outright with the advent of Grumman's TBM-3W model. [3] The TBM-3W was equipped with the superior AN/APS-20 radar with an even larger, 8 foot by 3 foot antenna.

Top The sole Consolidated-Vultee XTBY-4W Sea Wolf in its out-of-date factory-applied scheme. When first flown, the large under-belly radome was left in its natural fibreglass finish. [4] 'TEST' markings were painted on the cowling and forward fuselage. The XTBY-4W remained flying until 06 November 1945 when an undercarriage failure resulted in the prototype belly-landing on Vultee Field at Downey, CA.

TB2Y - From 'Sea Dog' to 'Maritime Cat'

With the cancellation of both the TBY-3 and TBY-4W, Consolidated-Vultee management began to see their ex-Vought project as a liability. The TBY could not compete with the larger, more capacious Avenger as a torpedo bomber but it could carry a bigger load than an SB2C Helldiver and was better defended than that Curtiss dive bomber. Chief Designer Vince Breese focused development of the Sea Wolf on revising the airframe to better emphasize the 'attack' role. [5]

Revisions primarily involved rearranging crew accomodations. The resulting TB2Y-1 Sea Lion had the dorsal turret moved forward with the radio-operator's compartment relocated to his ventral gun position. The TB2Y-1 proved lighter and more manoeuvrable than the original Sea Wolf but the US Navy was already realizing that the attack role could be readily handled by its single-engined carrier fighters. Only 60 TB2Ys were ever completed with most going directly to training squadrons. The oddest such assignment was to Dutch MLD training squadron based at Hawkins Field in Jackson, Mississippi.

'Zeeleeuw' - A Java Sea Reprieve for the 'Sea Dog'

It had originally been planned to issue SB2C-4s to Dutch operational squadrons for use in the PTO. Instead, it was decided to simply donate surplus Sea Lions to the Netherlands. This was accepted but the Dutch government elected to stand up a land-based unit for use in the Netherlands East Indies rather than another carrier squadron. No.319 (Tp) Squadron, RNethAF, was formed at Hawkins Field in September 1945 and quickly departed for the Indië. Despite not being an MLD squadron, 319 personnel trained to launch from carriers - their original method of arriving on Java.

Deployed to Kalidjati airfield, the Dutch squadron was employed almost exclusively on bombing and strafing missions against remaining pockets of Japanese resistance. Initially, mop-op operations focused on Java itself and Sumatra. Soon, however, attacks were directed against larger Japanese formations entrenched on Borneo. That put the 'Zeeleeuwen' - as the Dutch dubbed their TB2Ys - near the limit of their endurance. After two months, the TB2Y 'taxis' were replaced by longer-ranging B-25s and Borneo-based Spitfire detachments.

Bottom Consolidated-Vultee TB2Y-1 of No.319 (Torpedo) Squadron, RNethAF. Colours are the standard USN scheme applied by Vultee with the additional of RNethAF markings - basically ML-KNIL national markings and codes with the old Koninklijke Luchtmacht orange rudder. E4-326 was in the process of receiving a shark's mouth motif (here, shown partially chaulked on) when lost over Oost Borneo.

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[1] The Sea Wolf began as a Vought project. It was transferred to Consolidated-Vultee to allow Vought to concentrate on the development of the F4U Corsair fighter.

[2] This was an AN/APS-3 (aka ASD-1) ASV set with a much enlarged, 7 x 2.8 foot antenna suited for the AEW role.

[3] It was intended that unfinished TBY-4W airframes would be converted to TBY-4T aircrew trainer variants. That plan was abandoned along with the TBY-3 model. A replacement scheme was to complete the airframes as TBY-4TT high-speed target tugs. That never happened either and, it is believed that, the TBY-4W airframes were simply scrapped on the production line.

[4] Leaving the radome unfinished was also being tried on the R2D-1 trials aircraft. After this approach proved ineffective, the radome on the AEW XTBY-4W was covered with non-specular light gray paint.

[5] Doubtless, Breese also saw Sea Wolf revisions as a stepping stone to a future US Navy version of the  Consolidated-Vultee Model 90 (then being considered by the USAAF as the XA-41).
« Last Edit: October 27, 2020, 09:11:13 AM by apophenia »
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Offline finsrin

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Re: Consolidated-Vultee 'Sea Dogs'
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2020, 11:33:23 AM »
Write up and profiles right on as being RW as anything.  :smiley:

Online Jeffry Fontaine

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Re: Consolidated-Vultee 'Sea Dogs'
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2020, 11:43:21 PM »
Nice! :smiley:
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Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Consolidated-Vultee 'Sea Dogs'
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2020, 02:11:43 AM »
 :smiley:
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

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Offline Robomog

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Re: Consolidated-Vultee 'Sea Dogs'
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2020, 05:36:27 PM »
Nice profiles, did you borrow the AEW installation from the Gannett ?

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Offline jcf

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Re: Consolidated-Vultee 'Sea Dogs'
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2020, 04:06:43 AM »
Yay, update and keep the ugly. Win-win.  ;D :icon_fsm:
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Re: Consolidated-Vultee 'Sea Dogs'
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2020, 01:21:50 AM »
I quite like the look of it - maybe sexy-ugly.  Would look even better on floats...and in 1/48.

It's interesting when one reads that its performance was deemed superior to the Avenger and the Navy placed an order for 1,000 examples originally.
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

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Offline apophenia

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Re: Consolidated-Vultee 'Sea Dogs'
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2020, 09:53:19 AM »
Thanks folks!

Mog: I pinched the radome from a TBM-4W and scaled-it down a smidge for the AEW Sea Wolf.

Yay, update and keep the ugly...

 ;D ;D

Greg: I made mine superior to the SB2C ... so part of a much larger category  :P
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